WP: Rich Hill (3-4); LP: Taylor Williams (0-3); Save: Kenley Jansen (28); Homeruns: LA - Enrique Hernandez (17), Mil - Jesus Aguilar (25)
The Milwaukee Brewers (55-44) started their post-All Star game run just like they finished off their road trip to close the first “half”: with a loss that saw it’s share of missed opportunities, base running mistakes, and fielding errors. The Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43) had plenty of missed opportunities of their own, leaving ten on base, but held off a late Milwaukee rally to remain in first place in the NL West.
Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill was sharp at the start, allowing the Crew only one hit and two walks in his first four (shutout) innings. Christian Yelich had a first inning double to the warning track in deep right center but was stranded. Hill had eight of his nine strikeouts in those four innings.
LA scored their first run (unearned) in the top of the third off of Milwaukee starter Wade Miley when a passed ball by Manny Pina allowed a run home with one down and the bases loaded. The Brewers, though, then turned a nifty double play with runners at second and third and one down when Matt Kemp’s chopper to the third base side of the mound froze Manny Machado on third. Max Muncey, however, got too far off of second and after Miley’s throw retired Kemp at first, Jesus Aguilar whirled and easily retired Muncey trying to get back to second to end the inning.
The Brewers tied things up at one in the bottom of the fifth but, oh, it could have been so much more. Manny Pina singled leading off the inning and Keon Broxton walked. With the Dodger infield charging from third and sending the shortstop over to the bag on an expected sac bunt from Miley, Wade pulled the bat back and slapped a single into left center. Pina was held at third, but Broxton kept going around second, never picking up the hold by Eddie Sedar. Kike Hernandez ran the ball back in and retired Broxton unassisted.
That left runners at first and third with one down instead of the bases loaded and nobody out and the top of the order coming up. Hill fanned Lorenzo Cain for the second out, but Yelich continued his solid contact off of the lefty Hill with a double down the rightfield line. This time, Sedar couldn’t help himself - he sent the lead-footed Miley around third...even though Wade had slowed down coming into the bag, knowing you never send your pitcher in that situation. Miley was out at the plate. The two throws were good, but it wasn’t that tough of a play. Plus, Aguilar was next up. So five batters generated a strikeout, a walk, two singles, a double, one run and two tootblans.
Miley came out for the sixth and didn’t show any ill effects from his jaunt around the bases and slide into the catcher. He pitched around a two out error by Tyler Saladino to end his night with six innings and four hits, two walks, and an unearned run allowed. He struck out two.
Taylor Williams had the seventh and looked as if he hadn’t even thought about baseball for four days. His fastball was down two to three mph, and his slider had little bite and was poorly located throughout the inning. He gave up hits to the first five batters he faced, including two doubles, but the Dodgers also ran into an out when Yasmani Grandal (who had singled as a pinch hitter leading off the inning) was thrown out at the plate on a Keon Broxton to Hernan Perez to Manny Pina play at the plate. Another pinch hitter, Chase Utley,had lined a double to the gap in right. Two more singles and a double pushed across two runs, though, and after an intentional walk to Kemp Williams retired the final two. 3-1 LA.
After a quiet seventh, Aguilar blasted his 25th homer of the season well back into left off of Daniel Hudson with one down in the eighth. Aguilar was the only batter Hudson faced; Dodger manager Dave Roberts used four pitchers in the inning, with Dylan Floro getting the final out after allowing a single to Saladino. 3-2 Dodgers.
Brandon Woodruff struck out the side in the top of the eighth, and the first two batters in the top of the ninth were retired on flyballs. He then was squeezed on two pitches and ended up walking Muncey; Kemp fisted a single into right (his bat exploding into at least three pieces), then a three run homer to Hernandez. Sigh. 6-2 LA.
With no save opportunity, Floro came back out and promptly set up said save opportunity by giving up a single to Pina and a walk to pinch hitter Brett Phillips. Time for Kenley Jansen, who retired pinch hitter Brad Miller on a soft liner to first and struck out Cain. With two down Yelich got his third extra base hit with a triple down the right field line, plating two more. With a chance to tie Aguilar struck out to end the game, and Jansen had his 28th save of the season.
- Didja miss me? It’s good to do a game again...even a losing one.
- Lorenzo Cain had a rough night at the plate, going 0-5 with three K’s.
- It looked like Yelich had another extra base hit on a liner down the leftfield line in the third, but Chris Taylor in left had him played near the line and made a running catch. Yeli went back to pulling the ball after that.
- Miley had a really nice play covering first for the final out of the top of the fifth. Muncey’s grounder got past a diving Aguilar, but a shifted Hernan Perez caught it and threw to Miley covering. Wade was able to catch the ball and drag his foot across the bag just ahead of Muncey.
- Machado and Muncey both reached base four times; Manny with two singles and two walks, Muncey with a single, double, hit by pitch, and a walk.
- Another big ‘K’ night for Milwaukee - they went down swinging 14 times.
The task of breaking the losing streak doesn’t get any easier. LA sends out Clayton Kershaw (3-4, 2.74), still effective in another injury marred campaign. Milwaukee counters with Chase Anderson (6-7, 3.78), who has been pitching with good results for the past month.